A party mix of results for lamb and sheep


There were mixed results for the indicators this selling week as the season slows down. Mutton cleared the 300c/kg hurdle for the first time since February and restockers also had a price jump. Competition according to saleyard reports wasn’t as fierce as it has been, with buyers happy to sit back and not drive up the prices.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator was flat week on week despite the headcount for the indicator falling 24%. The top three contributors to the indicator in order were Ballarat, Wagga and Hamilton, supplying 50% of the trade lambs on offer. Both Ballarat and Wagga had some absences noted, without a fully active buying field according to saleyard reports.

The National Mutton Indicator jumped up 9% (26 c/kg) following an 8% rise the week prior, to finish at 303 c/kg. Throughput of the indicator was back 9% on the previous week to a total of 55.3k head. Wagga and Ballarat were again the top two contributors for the indicator and helped pull the price up, averaging 323 c/kg and 322 c/kg respectively. Comparing supply and demand of mutton to historic levels, current mutton prices relative to lamb look about right (Read more here).

The National Restocker Indicator was up 11% (55c/kg) this week ending the selling window at 556¢/kg. Yardings took a tumble of 27% (8.7k head) off the back of recent rain, especially in southern NSW and Central Victoria. The combination of recent rain and the decrease in yardings have both supported the price increase for restocker lambs.

Slaughter held steady last week, but still remains elevated compared to the year prior and to the medium term average. Looking at figure 2, the five year average shows that combined sheep and lamb slaughter declines from here with supply from the paddock easing as we move into the winter months.

Initial yardings data from the NRLS show an overall decrease in yardings for the week of 7% (18.4k head) to 259k head. Lamb yardings were down 13% whilst sheep yardings had an increase of 7%. Similar to the slaughter levels as we summit the middle of May and head for June and July, the 5 year average trend show saleyard throughput declining week on week.

Next week

Victorian restocker lambs lost 45¢ for the week.  With some rainfall reaching North-West Victoria and saleyard reports noting a lack of grain-finished lambs there could be a response from the market in the coming week or so if supply backs off.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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